How do you judge the success of a game?
June 7, 2007
One of the questions I have pondered for a while is how to judge the success of a game. Many people will think this is all to do with the number of downloads achieved or the number of 10/10 ratings they are given, however to me this is just wrong.
Downloads do not really account account for anything – sure a good game may get more downloads that a bad game – but equally people may download a game based on the quality of a programmers previous creations, because it appears to be popular or simply because it is advertised around them.
A good game certainly may get people telling their friends which will obviously help increase the download count, however before the viral effect can take place some start has to be made to get the word out about the game.
Of course the definition of a ‘good’ game is different for different people, heck, some people think Mario clones are actually cool. There are few games I can really say are ‘decent’ on the GMC – but of course my view of a good game differs from everybody else’s. Take for instance Forted (last time I promise) – I like this game and gave it my one and only rating in 4 years at the current GMC. Other people however didn’t seem to think the game was anything special. Far worse games achieve higher download figures, maybe because people are curious to see just how crap the creation is, or maybe because – as happens all to often – they believe the hype or want to copy it.
The success of a game can be judged in many ways – for some just getting a game to the release stage is a success. Especially if you are working on your first game this will be the case. You may not care about what people think of your game, in which case you are being very foolish, but to you it is a success.
A game may be viewed as a success if it achieves high ratings – normally given out by GMC newbies who come up with scores such as 12/10 or 7.4242111231/10 without giving any reasonable or remotely logical explanation as to how they arrived at the score. These members are also the types who like leave comments like “Mega c00l game -this rockz!”, it is traditional for the creator of the game to then copy this in to his topic description to plague the creations forum with grammatically incorrect and mis-spelt half sentences.
Then of course you have people with a little more time and sense who will judge a game on different aspects, e.g. graphics, originality and story – all of which will be irrelevant to Mario clones. These ratings make more sense as a clear breakdown of the game is shown – however saying things like “graphics 7.5/10, sound 3/10, story 0/10” doesn’t help. A two year old could pluck random numbers between 1 and 10 out of the air. Justification. Comments without justification are as worthless. Saying “That sucks” doesn’t help unless you are describing an automated drinking straw, instead you should say “Your game lacks originality as you have illegally ripped Mario sprites and music and claim to have come up with a unique concept. You also managed to mis-spell every other word in the game“. Then the creator knows to go away and come up with a new concept perhaps even a Pokemon fighting game or Zelda.
So far I have discounted download figures and ratings as accurate methods of judging the success of a game.
In truth there is no one method that can be used to judge the success of a game, and to different people success will be judged differently. Some people may be proud of their 7 downloads and 3 comments, whereas others will be disappointed unless they manage to sell 100 copies of their game.
I haven’t produced any games that I think have been successful, sure they have been finished and were downloaded several hundred times but I never stretched myself far enough to come up with something I was really proud of and could call a success.
In summary it is up to each game creator as to how they judge the success their game has achieved, and we should respect that.